poetry

Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim and the Medieval Drama

Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim and the Medieval Drama

Hrosvitha of Gandersheim (c.935 – c.1002) Although her date of birth is not known exactly, today’s post features “the most remarkable woman” of the early middle ages, Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim (in German also often referred to as Roswitha, and attributed as ‘the mighty voice’ or the ‘Nightingale of Gandersheim’). Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim was a 10th-century German secular canoness, as well as a dramatist and poet who lived and worked at…
The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

The Phantastic Travels of Adelbert von Chamisso

Adelbert von Chamisso (1781-1831) On January 30, 1781, German poet and naturalist of French Origin Adelbert von Chamisso was born. Some of his lyrics, ballads, and romances rank among the finest in German literature. He took part in Captain Kotzebue‘s Russian polar expedition (1815-18) and his 1835 published account of it ranges among the classics of travel. In the same way as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, one of Germany‘s best known poets, Adelbert…
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

‘The Raven (Corvus Corax)’ – from ‘The Natural History of Selborne’, published in London, 1879 On January 29, 1845, Edgar Allan Poe’s famous narrative poem ‘The Raven‘ was first published in the New York Evening Mirror. It has become one of the best known English poems of all time. The Raven makes use of a number of folk and classical references and is often noted for its musicality, stylized language,…
Boccaccio and his Decameron

Boccaccio and his Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio and Florentines who have fled from the plague On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron’ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron’? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. It its 100 stories it provides…
The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

Hans Sachs (1494-1576) On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over…
Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius (1616-1664) On October 11, 1616, German Baroque lyric poet and dramatist Andreas Gryphius was born. For his poems and tragedies Gryphius chose the topics of pain and moral decay during the times of the Thirty Years War as well as human restlessness, solitude and inner conflicts. Unless you have attended a German highschool or have a strong interest in baroque poetry, you might have never heard of Andreas…
Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) In the night from September 13 to 14, 1321, major Italian poet Dante Alighieri passed away. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. Together with his poet colleagues Petrarch and Boccaccio, Dante – the ‘supreme poet’ (il Sommo Poeta) – is referred to as “the three crowns” or “the three fountains”. Moreover, he…
Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto (1474 – 1533) On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance Poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens. Ariosto studied Latin in Ferrera and enrolled at the city’s university to study law. However, his interest remained in other fields, like humanism, wherefore…
Francesco Petrarca – Father of Renaissance

Francesco Petrarca – Father of Renaissance

Francesco Petrarca (1304 – 1374)Author: Frieda On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”.…
Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

On May 25, 1803, American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He disseminated his philosophical thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures. Ralph Waldo Emerson enrolled at Harvard College at the age of 14 and…
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